My interests in the workings of the mind and topics relating to women's spirituality span decades. They have been, in part, influenced by some early childhood experiences that eventually led me to explore women's connections to the divine and realms of the unseen.
One memory I vividly recall is when I was about five years old. Entranced by the Virgin Mary statue on my mother's dresser, I felt her come alive for a moment; she was lovingly smiling down at me. This experience left a deep impression. Here was a being in liminal space watching over me. The Virgin Mary, in years to come, became like a second mother, an ally I could go to for comfort and counsel. Another memory, one of my first, was of the feeling of pure ecstasy I experienced while imagining I was a fairy waving my magic wand while flying around our house in the Berkshires then landing in the rubber swimming pool. Even at that young age, I vowed to honor and remember that feeling of pure joy.
Intensely curious about 'the mind' since early adolescence, I would regularly visit the local old stone library trying to make sense of books on philosophy, psychology and metaphysics. Then, at fourteen, I discovered the writings of Alan Watts. Reading "The Way of Zen" set me on what turned out to be a lifetime path inspired by Eastern religions.
Directly after high school, I moved across country to the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco to join the emerging counterculture movement. I reveled in free-spirited living, began a TM meditation practice, danced at the Fillmore, created a tie-dye and macrame business, experimented with hallucinogens and was rarely without my hippie Bible, "Be Here Now" by Baba Ram Das. I feel fortunate to this day to have experienced such exciting halcyon times.
My continued interests in Eastern religions, healing methods, women's cultural, feminist and spiritual histories inspired me to travel to sites dedicated to the sacred feminine in Greece, to female deity and dakini sites in India and Nepal, as well as to lands associated with the ancient Amazons in Eastern Europe and Russia. Investigations of my heritage in Lithuania, Poland and further back, Ukraine and Russia, have contributed to the deepening of my 'personal mythology' and a quest to learn all I can about women's folk practices and oral traditions. I went on to obtain degrees in Archaeomythology (B.A), Women's Spirituality (M.A.) and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Transformation and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Unexpectedly in 1992, I experienced a spiritual emergence through a series of frequent spontaneous lucid dreams (many of an ecstatic nature) that lasted over thirteen years. In these dreams, I met with spiritual teachers and wisdom guides in various forms and received healings, transmissions and gifts of insight. I wrote about these experiences in my book, "Guardians of the Gate: An Investigation of Numinous Presence, 'Visions of the Divine,' in Dreams," which is based on my doctoral dissertation.
For over two decades I have offered counseling in private practice using methods derived from both the East and West including: the contemplative traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and non-dual Kashmir Shaivism, as well as depth psychology, shamanism and hypnosis. I also continue to investigate the archaeomythology of ancient goddess cultures and folklore traditions in Eastern Europe. Periodically, I offer guided pilgrimage tours to Nepal. At present, I reside in Boudhanath, Nepal and Northern California with my British artist husband, Christopher Castle.